54R Duplex and ’06 Duplex and Triplex loads.


Some very cool photos of duplex and triplex loads. Thanks to David Fortier and Maxim Popenker.


  1. It never ceases to amaze me at what influence our stupid ideas had on the Soviets. Space Shuttle? Yeah, they followed us right down that alley of idiocy. SCHV? Yep. 6mm SAW? Yep.

    And, in return, we copied their shitty ideas, like the IFV concept. Absolutely amazing to observe, and it is truly pitiful to observe that nobody thought to go back to first principles and say “So… Does this idea even make sense…?”. Neither side did, so I suppose it all eventually balanced out.

    With these duplex and triplex rounds, the thing that has always disturbed me about them are those second and third projectiles–In all the examples I’ve seen and handled, there was nothing really holding those into a column, other than the neck of the cartridge case. If you vibrated that case enough, it always seemed to me that anything not held by the crimp was potentially going to wind up separated from the lead projectile, and deeper back in the case surrounded by powder. Effect of that, once the thing is fired…?

    Nobody I’ve ever asked has been able to answer that question for me.

      • Off the top of my head…the failure/fatality rate was pretty high. Was only meant to be an interim solution but in typical govt fashion was used for 30 years. It’s operating costs were so high there was no budget to develop a follow-on program. The shuttle sucked pretty bad.

      • I’m an amateur space history nerd so you gotta take the US manned program in context of the times. John Young, the Commander of STS1 was literally walking on the moon during Apollo 16 when initial shuttle program funding was approved in Congress. It was originally part of the larger Apollo Applications scene.
        It turned into its own animal. NASA mandated all satellite launches to be launched from the shuttle so that when the Challenger happened it stymied everything such that all space based industry from defense to entertainment were scrambling for alternative rides.
        It never achieved its target mission rate. Not even close. The costs to do so were underestimated.
        Just like rocketguy said, failure rate. Statistically speaking an engineer can say whatever their charts and models expect to happen but reality showed we had a failure rate of 1 in 62, roughly.
        All that said it was still a helluva machine and was capable of doing things nothing else could such as retrieval, repair and relaunch of satellites.

        • I almost came back and softened my post with some of this but…after several years of ambitious projects starting with, “This is going to be awesome!” and ending with, “Well, that sucked.” I’m a bit jaded on this stuff. Behind schedule, over budget and under performing…basically living the defense contract life gets old.

  2. The problems with the Space Shuttle…? Wow. Where to begin?

    Firstly, the damn thing was captured by the bureaucracy. The program had been meant to be this rapid turn-around system that would enable serious space exploration. What it turned into was an abortion of a system that soaked up money which could have gotten SSTO going long before Elon Musk started SpaceX. Not to mention, they killed the Apollo programs Saturn V system in order to justify it, as well as deliberately destroying the industrial base that built it.

    The whole thing was a boondoggle that we knew was going to be a nightmare to try to make work. None of the promised “economies” ever materialized–Shuttle was supposed to make orbiting things dirt cheap, and if I remember the numbers I read years ago, it came in at ten times the cost per mission that it was supposed to. The Shuttle was the M-14 of the space program, and a very predictable one. Root problem was that NASA turned into a bureaucracy more concerned with benefiting itself than actually doing space-related shit. Shuttle was basically the “full-employment act” for a lot of the system, and it could not do what they promised it would. If you go back and look at the blue-sky projections of what Shuttle was going to be able to do, fuck all actually materialized in terms of cost-effectiveness and so forth. Yeah, there were things you could do with it that you could not do with anything else, but the problem was that they put all their eggs in one basket, as witnessed by the fact that we’ve been straphanging on the Russians since Shuttle was shut down. If they’d done the sensible thing, and kept going with the rockets, investigating SSTO technologies as the enablers came on line, we’d dominate space today. Instead, there’s a distinct chance that the people who wind up owning the Solar system are gonna speak Chinese, instead.

    Based on Loral technology that Bill Clinton’s Commerce Department approved for sale, right after he moved technology transfer control from Defense to Commerce–which was virtually the first thing he did after he moved into the White House. For that alone, the sorry fucker should have gotten a traitor’s bullet into the back of his neck, and a slow death choking to death on his own blood.

    You look into the details, and the post-Apollo era looks a lot like the post-Vietnam drawdown: Willful destruction of American capability and utter betrayal by Democrats in Congress. Had they not insisted on funding things the way they did, and paid attention to the people who were saying that the Shuttle Emperor wore no clothes, we’d have had a much better space program than we did. Shuttle was a fucking disaster before they started blowing them up–The whole idea was fucking asinine, from the start. You don’t see any of the current systems coming online even slightly resembling Shuttle, and that’s for a damn good reason. We don’t have the materials or the technology to make it work, and that was clear even back in the 1960s.

    • And speaking of the Russians, the rides we’re hitching with them now are in essentially the same vehicle they had when we were still tooling around in our pre-Apollo Gemini spacecraft. The greatest and the best? Nope, but it works.
      The copying of each other sure didn’t start at the Shuttle/Buran spacecraft either. We never flew a manned MOL mission but they flew several crew on theirs.

    • First, we were supposed to be aiming for the stars. Instead we got an orbiting school bus.

      Second, the way this country’s defense and industrial base has been sold out to the Chinese Communist Party is probably the biggest scandal of the turn-of-the-century era. I think it got rolling with Clinton, but it may predate that. The Chinese have proven to be expert at working our elite class and using ethnic Chinese as a fifth column in the US.

      It’s all being done pretty much in the open, too, and nobody seems to care. China might still lose the game, but it’s theirs to lose right now, mostly because the players on our side are being well-compensated to throw the match.

      OT: Does anyone else feel like this Coronavirus thing is not adding up? Based on the stats that China is releasing, this thing is pretty much a nasty cold. But they are treating it like Ebola. *Welding* people into apartment blocks? But enough cases have gotten out of China, and the quarantine was so screwed up early on that this thing should be blowing up across Korea, Japan, the Philippines… and nothing. Or almost nothing. Something here doesn’t add up and I can’t figure out what it is.

  3. Thanks Kirk and DSM as well – I’ve never thought about the shuttle program beyond ‘Reusable. Cool. Must be a good idea’ so that was enlightening.

    • It’s like a lot of “cool” things–The devil is in the details. If the bureaucracy is in favor of it, then you need to look very carefully at what is going on. Sometimes the “system” works; more often, not.

      There isn’t a damn thing that Musk is doing that NASA couldn’t have been doing back in the 1980s. Jerry Pournelle was advocating for an iteratively-designed SSTO return landing idea back then that looks suspiciously like SpaceX. Never got past the bureaucrats…


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